What does it mean to be ‘strong’? In the emotional sense. To not cry? To have the typical ‘tough’ persona down-pat? To not feel? Or to pretend that you don’t? These are what I associated with the word until only a few days ago.
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. At a time in my life when there have been a lot of changes, some of which create extreme emotions both up and downs, and wondering why I’m not strong enough. Someone might stick up their hand right now and say, ‘Hey! You’re strong! Of course you are!’ But why? What makes me strong? Why don’t I think I am?
What is strength?
After much reflection, I’ve decided that this type of strength I’m missing is the strength to do what is right/best for me.
I struggle to practice what I preach, and if a friend was having difficulty with someone else, at the drop of a hat I would tell them, ‘They are not worthy of you. You deserve to be treated so much better.’ But when I’m the one who is being hurt by someone I love or hold close to my heart? I’ll try my very best to solve it (I’m a self-proclaimed gold medalist of apologising – even if it’s not my fault… Especially if it’s not my fault), and even when it’s as clear as day that it’s time to let it go, I keep trying and pouring all my heart in to fixing it.
Perhaps it’s admirable that I keep trying. It shows my optimism and trust.
A dear friend and her boyfriend broke up a little while ago. She told me that when she was upset, he’d always say, ‘You’re a strong girl, you’ll be alright’. To this I say: you’re right. She is strong. But being so doesn’t mean that you don’t have down days or feel upset and need to have a cry and eat a half a box of Oreos. Being strong means doing what you need to do and feeling what you feel and accepting all your ups and downs completely.
Strength is walking away. Committing. Trusting. Doing something a little scary or uncomfortable to push yourself. It’s having a conversation. Choosing to ignore someone. Living.
Being strong is doing what is going to continue to make you happier, help you grow and flourish, and be the best version of you that you can be at any given moment.
Suddenly, being ‘strong’ is a lot less frightening and foreign, and something I’m striving to be each day.